As ESPN Radio in New York struggles to keep pace with WFAN in the ratings battle, the Good Karma Brands-owned station is revamping their lineup to offer more local programming.
According to Andrew Marchand and Ryan Glasspiegel of the New York Post, 98.7 ESPN New York’s biggest change in the new year will come in mornings. There, for the first time in its more than 20-year history, the station will boast a local show from 6 – 10am.
In January 2021, ESPN New York made half an attempt at competing with WFAN in morning drive by building a local show from 5 – 8am, while Boomer and Gio airs from 6 – 10am. In its latest shakeup, 98.7 will shift morning hosts Rick DiPietro and Dave Rothenberg to the 6 – 10am timeslot, giving them a local show that competes directly with WFAN for the first time in ESPN New York’s more than 20-year history on-air.
According to the Post, dropping Keyshawn Johnson, Jay Williams and Max Kellerman from ESPN New York’s lineup could be a sign that changes are in store for ESPN Radio’s national morning radio show. Currently, Keyshawn, JWill and Max air from 8 – 10am on ESPN New York.
Mike Greenberg’s Greeny show is expected to remain on ESPN New York in its usual 10am – noon timeslot. While Greenberg’s show is national, the Post cited his New York flare as a Jets’ fan. But that assumes he’ll actually be in studio to host the program on a regular basis.
Bart Scott and Alan Hahn will continue to host the noon – 3pm timeslot on ESPN New York, but they will return to doing a strictly local show following a stint on the network’s national lineup. According to the Post, Harry Douglas and Jason Fitz are leading candidates to fill the noon – 3pm window for ESPN Radio nationally.
The Michael Kay Show will remain on ESPN New York from 3 – 6:30pm after recently celebrating their 20th anniversary on the station. Dan Graca goes on after Kay at night, followed by the duo of Larry Hardesty and Gordon Damer, and the station still boasts Knicks and Rangers games, meaning ESPN New York can now be fully local from 6am – midnight, aside from Greenberg’s two-hour show.
After The Michael Kay Show had a brief tenure as the top rated sports radio show in New York, they’ve been trounced by WFAN in more recent books. During the second month of the fall book, WFAN’s Craig Carton and Evan Roberts scored an 8.3 share, while Kay’s show garnered a 2.8. In mornings, Boomer and Gio did a 9 share, compared to ESPN New York’s 2.4.
It’s hard to imagine giving DiPietro and Rothenberg an extra hour while removing the national tag from Scott and Hahn will allow ESPN New York to make a serious dent in WFAN’s ratings lead. But by offering more local programming, ESPN New York’s new owners (as of last December) have signaled they’re dedicated to putting up a fight. The revamped lineup is scheduled to launch Jan. 3, 2023.